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Erin Burnett Out Front

News/Business. Erin Burnett. (2012)

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CNN

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01:00:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Virtual Ch. 759 (CNN HD)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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1920

PIXEL HEIGHT
1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

America 11, U.s. 11, Us 10, China 7, Rodriguez 6, Humana 6, Barack Obama 5, United States 4, Libya 3, Faa 3, Romney 3, South Africa 3, Chris Lawrence 3, Mitt Romney 3, Fbi 3, Humana Medicare 2, Obama 2, Cnn 2, John 2, Grandpa 2,
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  CNN    Erin Burnett Out Front    News/Business.  
   Erin Burnett.  (2012)  

    October 5, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00pm PDT  

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just to make you feel really uncomfortable. you can kill things but still like them. rick santorum. what a perfect way to end the interview. >> you can kill things but still like them. words to live by on the "ridiculist." that does it for us. have a great weekend. "erin burnett outfront" starts now. > "outfront" next, the unemployment rate fas to the lowest levels since president obama took office. we'll tell you why that number matters and why it might not matter that much. plus, the fighover the middle class. mitt romney makes a sudden appeal, but is it going to work? and new questions about the lack of security in libya after a terrorist attack there killed four americans. tonight, e-mail evidence that the state department rejected a security request. let's go "outfront."
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"outfront" tonight, the war over work. a new jobless number and renewed claims from both presidential candidates about what it means. first, president obama saying it is a very, very good sign. >> this morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since i took office. >> the old rate, 8.1%. the new number, 7.8%. that's the best since barack obama took office and it's certainly positive news for his re-election hopes because no president has been re-elected with an unemployment rate above 8% since roosevelt in the 1830s. erin herself has made this point many times. >> the unemployment rate may be high, but the the absolute number is not what matters when it comes to getting re-elected. that's about to trend. every president running since world war ii has won when the
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rate was falling and lost when it was going up. best example, get ready. >> it's morning again in america. today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history. with interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980. >> yeah, you know what ad was for. that was ronald reagan, who won the election with a rate of 7.4%. so, the question is, can mr. obama win one like the giper or is the number still bad enough to doom his hopes? well, cue mitt romney. that's what happened today. his team is furiously pointing out how many people are underemployed. last month's household survey found 582,000 of the jobs created involved part time workers who wanted to be full time. plus, no one should forget all the people who have stopped looking for work. romney says this new number or not is not what a recovery looks like.
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>> the truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the workforce, today is on the day the president got elected, our unemployment rate would be around 11%. >> "outfront" tonight, ali velshi, ethan and a former staff member for president obama's national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform, daniel mitchell, senior fellow at the cato institut alan, the numbers sound good. are they? >> i don't care. i'm going to go one further than erin. not only does the absolute number of the unemployment percentage not matter. i don't even think the trend matters. bottom line is there are measures of unemployment much more important. the number of jobs created minus lost. the average hours worked in a
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week and wages. we measure that every month, but we're so caught up in this percentage rate. guess what? republicans hated the fact it was above 8%. no president gets elected with rates above 8%. what's the main accusation today? that the books are cooked. >> hold on. we're going to get to it. >> it doesn't matter. >> okay, you cited a lot of stuff there. so all that stuff considered, are we better off now or not? >> yes. >> i would have liked the the numbers we had in 2011 beginning of 2012 when we were growing more jobs per month. 114,000. it's not great. that is not a number barack obama should be crowing about. t not a number mitt romney should be accusatory about. barack obama has created more jobs while in office than were lost, but mitt romney points out correct lew, they are not the right quality. no, this is not morning in america. it's also not a disaster. >> ethan, jump in here. are you encouraged? >> i am.
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i totally agree with ali. mitt romney's been saying that we've been having x month of unemployment above 8%. he can't that anymore. on top of that, the president can say he's created over a million private sector jobs, so he has some new powerful rhetorical arrows that are in his quiver. >> when i saw this today, i thought this fits perfectly into this narrative of a country that's divided because it's a little bit good news. not a lot, and it leaves everybody with room to argue. >> symbolically, it was a victory for the white house to get that unemployment rate under 8% along with just about everybody else. i predicted that would be the key to obama winning re-election, but objectively, if you look at the numbers, there are some real problems with the number of people who have dropped out of the labor force
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if you're comparing it to reagan, morning in america. compare the obama recovery to reagan. obama's behind by $6.9 million jobs and probably more important, it's per capita. disposable income that a lot of social scientists have found is the real key to getting re-elected and that number doesn't look too good for obama. >> you raised a number. the symbolism and how people feel about it. let's look at a cnn poll from last month. 67% of registered voters expect conditions will be good a year from now. daniel, what do you think? 31% say worse. are they right, are they wrong? >> the economy will be better, but it's a question of how much better. let's not forget obama promised if he enacted his so-called stimulus, by today, the unemployment rate would be down to 5.5%. so, something's gone wrong. if you look at the minneapolis federal reserve website, there's an interactive feature that
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allows you to look at all the the business cycles since world war ii. it's the worst gdp performance and jobs perform ann of any president. things are getting better, but at such an anemic rate. >> let's move on. go ahead. jump in. >> you know what the problem was with that promise? they should have never made that. promises get people elected. promises get things passed, so now mitt romney says i'm going to create 12 million jobs over four years. 250,000 jobs a month. a ridiculous claim and what does the obama campaign do because morning in america sounds better than evening in america, the obama campaign says there's that's a low bar. we can do that, too. >> briefly here, you mentioned the idea of a conspiracy theory. this is the white house trying to mix it up. you don't buy that at all. >> not a little bit.
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bureau of labor statistics is a geeky, wonky organization. i love their website. they just, they're data geeks. i spoke to the labor secretary again to be reassured that even she doesn't see them until the morning of. sometimes, the president's economic adviser gets them the night before because if it's a really bad number, that person can go to the person and say we need to inform the federal reserve chief, but generally speaking, that is not the case. this is, look, i suppose anything's possible. it could even be a calculation error, but it is remarkable that the minute the numbers turn against conservatives, everybody's up in arms saying the books are cooked. >> ethan, you wrote in the spring that what we need the catch up growth. catch up growth. not merely maintenance growth. this is is undeny bly good news. we're making progress. is this catch up growth? >> it is. and first, i want to agree
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withaly and say that these guys are just great. topnotch. besides that, you're right. we need catch up growth. if you look at population growth, that means we need to create about 100,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population. by contrast, if we want to get back to full employment in three years, we need to create about 330,000 jobs a month, so it's clear we're growing faster than population is, which means we're getting better. but you can see the difference there. it's as ali said, it's a slow recovery. it's getter better, but very slow. >> thanks so much for being with us tonight. still to come, mitt romney is making a move for the middle class, but it comes just a month before the election, so why is he doing it now and will it work at this point? plus, america blames soda and junk for seats dislodging mid flight. i mean american airlines.
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does that add up? and the outbreak of meningitis spreads across the u.s. with new cases and new concerns tonight in "outfront" look at how this got passed medical safety measures. stay with us. so, what do you think? [ engine revs ] i'll take it. [ male announcer ] it's chevy truck month. now during chevy truck month, get 0% apr financing for 60 months or trade up to get the 2012 chevy silverado all-star edition with a total value of $8,000. hurry in before they're all gone! the wheels of progress. seems they haven't been moving much lately. but things are starting to turn around because of business people like you.
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"outfront," mitt romney is trying to make off with the middle class. romney made another big play for that all important voting block. a >> people in the middle class
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have been squeezed, buried as the vice president said. >> last night on fox news, romney made an unexpected plea to the same voters, apologizing for the leaked comment about 47% of americans. >> in this case, i said something that's completely wrong and i absolutely believe however that my life has shown that i care about 100%. >> if you listen to how many times he's said middle class over the last few days, it looks like a frontal assault. joining us now -- serving as communications director for tim pawlenty's presidential campaign. ann marie, let me get to this apology. this was 17 days ago, this tape came out. why did he apologize now? >> he was asked the question.
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he apologized. there's little daylight between what he said in elegant and if he apologizes and his policies are going to be for 100% of americans. not 47%. so look, i think he's moved past this. if we want to talk about inelegant comments, we can talk about president obama saying he wants to redistribute -- >> hold on a second, john. jump in here for a minute. let me talk about this fight for the middle class here because both candidates want it, but it really seemed in the past few days since the debate, that mitt romney lit up to say it's working for barack obama, i'm going to make it work for me. >> would he seriously borrow a position from someone else? >> they want it because they need it.
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you don't get elected unless you appeal to moderates an the middle class. that's why the 47% comment hurt so much. that's why the poll numbers started breaking hard against him when it started really resognating through the heart land. he had a great debate. he's got an opportunity to do that. >> so, he should just clear that off the table. >> some of those problems are baked in his cake. >> jamal, jump in here. if you're a democrat in this country, not thrilled to see him suddenly encroaching so hard in this area, but barack obama was kind of playing him a little bit, but, seriously, i'm not sure if mitt romney may have said middle class more than obama. >> you know, what john just said is absolutely right. he had to get here. this is where american elections are fought, in the middle, the general election. what i don't understand is why he waited so long to do it. i don't why he didn't come out immediately after the republican primary, maybe even take on some of the tax loopholes, he says name a couple of them to prove he's going to stay on the side of the middle class. to find his entire life and now he's playing catch up. i'm not sure he has enough time. >> he's got a challenging -- pew survey found 75% of votes said
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it's more difficult now to maintain a standard of living and a "usa today" gallup poll before the debate said 53% think president obama will do better for them than mitt romney at 32%. how does he overcome that? >> i think wednesday night hit the restart button. they are ready to go. about a month to talk about his plan and i think what you saw on wednesday night, it wasn't the 30 second spots being defined by barack obama. it was mitt romney speaking unfiltered to voters for 90 seconds. he was in their living room. they liked what they heard. >> jamal, shoot tragt with me on this. if i'm a democra sitting around watchthis, mitt romney connected wednesday night. it has got to make you little bit nervous to say this is a magic bullet that barack obama has. he has been able to connect with
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voters, mitt romney hasn't. now, he has. doesn't this make you a little edit twitchy? >> oh, it makes a lot of people twitchy. i wrote a column about this. democrats have been getting a little confidence, maybe smug, about their chances as poll numbers continue to show barack obama pulling away from mitt romney. knock on one more door, ring one more phone, to try to turn voters out, but ultimately, the president, by the way, barack obama's one of the most competitive people we've seen in american politics. we will not be sitting here after the second debate having this conversation. >> jamal's looking for a silver look lining. that's what's shocking. the president didn't show up as a competitor. he barely showed up. american elections, one over moderate and middle class. >> four more weeks of it. thanks for being here. ahead, china claims they turned the tables on hollywood by premiering the number one movie of the weekend, but does that add up?
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and we take you "outfront" to the coast of iran. >> i'm chris lawrence in the persian gulf and tonight, we're going to take you out on the high seas to see what's being done to -- to mine this. the strait of hormuz. reach one customer at a time? ♪ or help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪ into a fifth anniversary of remission? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it.
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our third story "outfront," iran refuses to budge despite some talk about possibly suspended some parts of its nuclear program. officials tell cnn tonight, the iranian don't appear to be conceding any real ground. sent the iranian currency plunging, as much 40%.
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that in one week. that has sparked angry protests. in the streets of tehran. the u.s. is stepping up pressure with a show of military force in the persian gulf. this is a tense and exciting situation in many ways because of all of the possibilities out there. chris lawrence is "outfront." >> imminent surface threat. >> reporter: if fighting breaks out with iran in the persian gulf, it will look a lot like this drill. u.s. navy sailors making split-second decisions on whether to shoot at a speedboat. >> i ask, would you shoot? knowing you're responsible for the lives of everybody on board? that's a tough one. if you get it right, congratulations. if you get it wrong, you live it wrong the rest of your life. >> reporter: but the biggest battles could be fought under water. >> no one out goes to clear mines unless someone else is
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putting mines in the water. >> reporter: a $10,000 mine could cripple a $10 million cargo ship. to understand how to defeat these explosives, you've got to go to the disputed waters, where the latest technology is being deployed. we lead on a special chopper that can detect and destroy mines. one of several to keep power in the area. it drops an acoustic line into the gulf, which mimics the sound of a real ship to trick the mine into detonating. these are the open seas, but the iranian territorial waters are less than 70 miles away. mining the entire strait of hormuz would take thousands of sets of mines and weeks they probably don't have. diving teams still go down to disable explosives, but now, they're being manned by under water vehicles. this prototype is being tested internationally for the first
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time. in other drones could dive 2,000 feet to stay under water for days. some lay on top of mines that can be remotely detonated once the robot leaves. american mine sweeping ships troll these waters, dragging thick magnetic tables designed to set off mines. >> you would definitely feel it. >> reporter: the warrior has a wooden hull so it wouldn't activate some mines like a steel ship would, but u.s. crew men don't want to destroy every explosive. >> one of the things we try to do is look at a mine. look at its physical characteristics. >> some want to them get their hands on, examine its size, shape and weight to find out who made it. >> obviously, that's an important piece of the puzzle. >> reporter: chris lawrence, cnn, in the persian gulf. >> fascinating out there.
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next, why did the state department deny a security request from the u.s. embassy in libya and an outbreak of meningitis is spreading. tonight, we're learning about the company at the center of the outbreak and we'll tell you all about it. stay with us. smoo [ male announcer ] here's a fun fact: this single scoop of gain gives more freshness than a whole box of this other stuff... and that much freshness is gonna take some getting used to... [ sniffing ] ahh. mmm! [ male announcer ] yep, it's amazing
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welcome back to the second half of "outfront," we start the second half of our show with stories we care about. we focus on our own reporting from the front lines. we have breaking news, two law enforcement officials tell cnn the death of a border patrol agent this week was caused by friendly fire. the fbi said in a statement, there are strong preliminary indications that the death of nicholas ivy was the result of -- the injured agent was released from the hospital on wednesday. a radical islamist clerk is on the way to the united states after losing his latest and final appeal to avoid that fate. judge john thomas said the extradition may proceed immediately. some of the supporters clashed with police outside of the high court.
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he faces 11 charges in the united states, including conspireing in 1999 to set up an islam jihad training camp in oregon. rebel fighters shot down a helicopter over the the damascus country side. this video supposedly shows. the video was posted on youtube. we cannot verify it's authenticity. another opposition group known as the local coordination committees for syria says 110 were killed by syrian forces across the country just today. former university of tennessee basketball coach pat summitt says she was not forced out of her job after being diagnosed with early on set dementia. she says i did not feel then and do not feel now that i was forced out of the university.
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she says anyone who knows me knows that any such effort would have been met with resistance -- this was brought out this week as the head coach of the lady vols. it has been 428 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? the federal deficit has hit $1.1 trillion now for fiscal 2012. this is the fourth year in a row. that won't help us, that's for sure. our fourth story, developing story, two suspects from tunisia are being questioned tonight in connection with the murders of chris stevens and three other americans. jill daugherty has been digging into the story and is with us tonight. >> well, on this particular incident, we don't know a whole lot of detail, but we know those two men, they are being questioned in turkey. and the understanding is that they were somehow allegedly tied to the attack in libya.
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now, they were on the watch list that the u.s. compiled. that was given to the turks and the turks picked them up, apparently came into the country this week and the fbi is hoping they will have some type of access to them. >> questioned them already, but would like to have a chance to. >> right. >> there was also another development today in this investigation. this e-mail between the state department and the team benghazi surfaced. what do we know about that? >> well, this is part of, you know there are several investigations ongoing into the death of the ambsador and the three other americans. and how it happened. the charge is that the state department allegedly did not do enough. so in that context, this is an e-mail that is coming from a security support team. now, those who special forces have been deployed all over the world.
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to hotspots to protect american dip lo mats. this is for diplomatses. and they wanted continued use of a d.c. plane. now, they wanted that to transport their own personnel and diplomatic business. but the state department turned them down. now, the state department explains that by saying by that time, they had commercial flights available. so, there was no longer any need. there is the implication there is not money to spend on this. so, they turned them down, but they say it did not affect the response to the attack that killed the ambassador and the three other americans and that also when they went to take americans out of the country, after that attack, they also transported them on a chartered aircraft, so this is part of these three investigations. the fbi has it own, state department has one and congress has one and state says they are going to cooperate fully.
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>> i'm sure that you'll be keeping track of all of them. the centers of disease control have now connected an additional 12 cases of meningitis to a contaminated steroid injection, bringing the cases to 47, including 5 deaths. most of the cases are in tennessee. meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. the shots were traced to a compounding pharmacy in massachusetts. there are several thousand of these compounding pharmacies in the country. they are not subject to the same regulations as the big drug companies. i spoke with dr. gupta and asked him what compounded pharmaceuticals are. >> well, you know, a lot of these manufactures who create these medications, in this case,
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an injectable steroid, may be in large amounts and it will -- say a hospital says i want this medication, but i want it in a different dose or smaller i'll haves. that's where a compounding facility comes into play. they're not manufacturing the medication. that's critical. the fda doesn't have authority over them, the state pharmacy boards do. >> so, no fda regulation of these facilities. >> right. we asked about that, the fda told us look, we've blood pressure been trying to get oversight over these since the early 1990s. but this particular facility, the new england compounding center, they distribute to the entire country. >> so, a lot of people might go to their own pharmacist and they might compound something for them individually, but in this case, if this is going across the country, does everybody who receives this even know that it's been compounded somewhere? or would they think it's a
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regular product or what?>> i t know and i think a lot of the clinic, the doctors, even the people that work in the hospitals probably don't know either. as a surgeon, i use this type of medication for back pain. typically, we'll is ask for a certain cc. certain size vial of the medication. but we don't know for instance if it's gone to a compounding facility in between us and the manufacturer. >> when we talk about these cases of meningitis cropping up in different places, people don't know. this could happen some time after they got the injection. what should they be looking for? >> up to 28 days. that's an important point because it made this more challenging. fungal meningitis is a pretty rare thing. the symptoms can be different from bacterial. mild stroke like symptoms,
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numbness or weakness. pain near the injection site, but the typical symptoms are inflammation around the spinal cord and brain, so people will have stiffness of the neck, profound headache, dizziness, a real aversion to light. and as you pointed out, these patients can die as well as a result of these types of symptoms if they progress untreated. >> is there anything people can really do about this? could you say to your doctor, is this from a compounding facility? especially he may not even know? >> in this case, it was clear cut that the contamination occurred at the compounding facility. they've identified obviously which lots were contaminated. they've got to make sure no one gets more of these injections. they have to identify the patients who have and make sure they get treated, but going forward, i think to your point, this is going to be a little bit
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of a wake up call. there's been a drum beat about this issue in the past. they could actually see the mold, which is what the fungus is. this is a clear cut contamination. i think a lot of people are going to be paying a lot of attention. to how they prevent that from happening again in the future. >> sanjay, thanks. >> thanks. coming up next, american airlines is improbably blaming spilled soda for seats coming loose on its planes. american protesters take to the streets of pakistan, but it's the u.s. policies and he was a rock god for 30 years and he never knew it. the story of an unlikely music legend, still to come. [ female announcer ] did you know the average person smiles
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so i brought it to mike at meineke. we gave her car a free road handling check. i like free. free is good. my money. my choice. my meineke. china desperately wants to get into the movie business. that's why chinese film companies have helped finance a load of american movies over the past few years, including the 2010 remake of carat e kid and now, a movie where china is the world's super power.
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according to executives, last weekend, it earned $20 million at.s. of the uce and another 25 million at the chinese box office. these are very significant numbers because it marks the very first time an american movie opened to a bigger box office in the country other than the united states. did it? that brings us to tonight's number. 7 million. that's how much money the movie actually earned at the chinese box office last weekend. it was announced today that when some of the theatres in china were calculated their totals, they mixed up the currency of china with the dollar anthat made the total seem a lot bigger than it was, so not only did the movie earn less thap the 25
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million reported, it might not have even been the number one film in that country. so while china might be a super power in the movies, they're still not a super power at the movies. we're back with tonight's outer circle where we reach out to our sources all around the world. first, pakistan, where a group of american women dress td in pink are protesting drone strikes there. we have a reporter there, and i asked him to explain what this group is trying to accomplish. >> reporter: it's not clear if code pink isoing tmake it to the tribal region, but they say they're going to head that way until someone stops them. the protest is against u.s. drone strikes. they say u.s. drone strikes are killing too many civilians and they're not scaring militants according to code pink. they are creating more. >> we are creating our own enemies, obviously, and this is
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one of the best tools for recruitment for the bad guys. >> when our government is doing something that's wrong, it's up to us as citizens to stand up. >> it is extremely rare for americans to -- protest against the u.s. government, but it's happening in islamabad. to venezuela, president hugo chavez is hoping be re-elected this sunday. this when there is a strong challen challenger. paula newton is in caracas and i asked her what the atmosphere was like. >> reporter: there's a lot of apprehension here leading up to these elections on the weekend. it doesn't matter if you support the opposition or the government. many fear that this election race could be so close that one or the other party may not accept the eventual outcome. chavez himself has hinted that perhaps the opposition will cause trouble if the election is close and they lose.
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he's being mischievous in saying that. the opposition says we have no intention of causing intention and we'll resign ourselves to defeat if that is what happens. as i said, closely contested election. more so than the last 14 years. gunk. american airlines say messy passengers are to blame for passengers that came loose on three recent flights. they claim spilled soda and coffee gunked up a seat locking mechanism over time. the incident caused the airline to take 47 planes out of commission. "attention all passengers" author is joining us now. do you buy this? >> no. i think most people in the
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industry feel the gunk story is bunk actually. >> i like that. >> they are saying all this junk got down to the clip things in the seats and they put the seats in, clamped them down it interfered with the clamping mechanism, something like that. >> bottom line, we see billions of flights in the united states every year. all kinds of things are spilled in the cabin every year. speak to the flight attendants, things we don't want to know about. the seats need to be cleaned out and the mechanisms need to be cleaned out. >> the locking pin we're seeing, and it could be messed up by gunk and they are serving drinks on every airplane. >> a fair question to ask is why did we see this on the same airline, same aircraft type, three times in five days. this is not a problem we're seeing on other airplanes on other airlines? >> even if it's true, it's nt
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an exc >> america airlines has an obligation to make sure that their planes are safe and the faa also has that same obligation. we have a real crisis going on with airline maintenance. >> talk to me with regard to american. >> up until recently, american was the last airline in the united states that was not outsourcing maintenance, now in its bankruptcy organization, probably going to be acquired by u.s. airways, has new management, and even as we speak, just a few hours ago, 450 more mechanics were laid off at their facility in tulsa. that's the last facility in america. >> why is that a problem. all sorts of businesses outsource. why can't you fund a good company, and it's okay. >> it's the people that are doing the work. basically in many cases planes are going outside the united states to developing countries, we were just talking about china, singapore, el salvador,
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mexico. in many cases, mechanics are not licenses licens licensed, and the faa does not allow that. here in the united states if you are a mechanic working for an airline in house, you have to go through drug screening, alcohol screening, a security background check. these things are being waived increasingly. >> one quick question before we go if all other companies are dog it anyway, all of the other companies don't haveat gunked up? >> we are seeing very troubling signs that, in fact, safety is eroding, i spoke to dozens and dozens of frontline faa inspectors s. >> thank you for telling us about it. we'll see what happens. we have some soda for you in the back. up next, he thought he was a musician without a professiona career little did he know h was a rock star on the other side of the planet. want to try to crack it? yeah, that's the way to do it!
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well, with the debate and unemployment and everything else, you might have found it to be a rough week to get through. we wanted to leave you with a story we found absolutely enchanting to maybe make your weekend.
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imagine if you're an average guy, working day in and day out to support your family, going to and from the job. you think nothing of it. when you were younger, though, you recorded a couple of albums but they didn't go very far by u.s. standards. you pretty much forgot about them. but little did you know, those forgotten records became the sound track of a movement thousands of miles away in south africa. that is exactly what happened to a detroit man. he was a rock star and he didn't even know it. poppy harlow is out front with his amazing story. >> we thought he was like the inner city poet. he was this wandering spirit around the city. >> reporter: a dylan-esque detroit native who tried his hand at rock history in the '70s. ♪ >> we walked in and heard the songs he was singing, what he was writing.
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we had to record him. we had to make a deal. he's great. this is it. >> reporter: but it wasn't. rodriguez's albums flopped in the u.s. somehow, though, his first album, "cold fact" made it halfway around the world and became a massive hit. >> in south africa he was the pantheon of rock gods. >> to us it was one of the most famous records of all time. >> reporter: the sound track of the anti-apartheid movement. fueling a revolution. but at home in detroit, rodriguez had no idea. he had given up his music career. that was four decades ago. you used to play right across the street there, right? >> i played in a lot of places in detroit. >> reporter: unaware of his fame abroad and getting no royalties, rodriguez lived on little, raising his daughters doing demolition work. >> i'm not a stranger to hard work. >> reporter: he made failed bids for mayor, city council and state rep.
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you call yourself a musical political. >> musical political, yeah. i don't see how anyone can't be. >> reporter: then at 57, he was rediscovered by a south african music journalist and record store owner, who found clues in his lyrics. >> we found him! >> reporter: they brought rodriguez to south africa and he played to thousands of adoring fans. >> thanks for keeping me alive. >> he's onstage and the crowd is just going wild and they're singing and they're crying. >> reporter: it brings you to tears to see something like that happen to someone. >> yeah. >> well, it was epic. >> reporter: do you not think that your story is exceptional beyond belief? >> it's pretty wild, the story. i'm a lucky man to be so fortunate at this late date. >> this is a true cinderella story. >> reporter: this film maker tells it in his documentary,
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"searching for sugar man." >> a man who lives his whole life in detroit, working as a construction worker, really hard manual labor, without knowing that at the very same time he's more famous than elvis presley in another part of the world. i thought it was the most beautiful story i ever heard in my life. >> reporter: a beautiful story, but also a mystery. where were all the royalties? >> i don't know. i don't know. i do think it's an important question, because rodriguez didn't know he was famous, because he didn't get royalties for 3 years. >> reporter: asked if he feels ripped off -- >> no, not in that sense of it and hate is too strong an emotion to waste on someone you don't like, you know? >> reporter: do you want the fame and the fortune? >> fame is fleeting. ♪ hey baby what's your hurry >> reporter: now 70, rodriguez may finally get his due.